Steamboat Micro Adventures: Backpacking the Zirkel Circle -

Steamboat Micro Adventures: Backpacking the Zirkel Circle

Nighttime in the Zirkels

When a weekend looms, load up the pack and get out there.

Camping with the Ski Haus Crew

I remember flipping through Backpacker magazine as a kid back east, pages filled with jagged peaks, crystalline waters, and wildlife at that point only experienced through PBS specials. To me these exotic lands were far off mystical places that maybe, just maybe, I would be lucky to explore some day. Wilderness was something separate from real life. Like Narnia.

Fast forward a few years and here I find myself living in paradise. The type of place where “getting away from it all” means popping just out of town to the wilderness. Myself and a crew of Ski Hausers recently took advantage of our proximity to true backcountry and did an overnight on the famous Zirkel Circle route just north of Steamboat.

It isn’t the most technical route, nor it is a grueling 50-miler that has you hallucinating through the last three miles to the car. It is a relatively mild 10 mile loop with gradual elevation changes. On paper, nothing special. But out there on the trail encountering wildflowers of every color and Mount Zirkel looming in the distance I found myself living that childhood Backpacker dream.

We took a morning dip in Gilpin Lake, and set up camp in a meadow as the sun was going down. We watched deer wander out of the woods for a drink and found ourselves transfixed by the changing sunset colors on the mountainsides until the Jetboil’s steam told us it was time to chow down.

Part of the lure of Steamboat is easy access to these sorts of experiences. You may be looking for that grueling 50-miler, or you may just want to run through wildflowers like a kid. It is all available to you here. Local knowledge abounds here at the shop and we love talking about our adventures. If you’re looking for the perfect experience for you and your crew, stop by and chat us up. You might soon come to think of us as your personal trail matchmaker, and that’s just fine with us.

Circle Pass View of Gilpin Lake

Leave a Reply